Boys Don’t Cry

Driving home the other night The Cure came on the radio. From the back seat came a question:

“Why don’t boys cry?”

“What?”

“The name of the song is Boys Don’t Cry.”

“Yep.”

“What does that mean?”

“Oh, it used to be that boys were supposed to be tough, and strong and if you are tough and strong you don’t cry.”

“What about girls?”

“People used to say that girls were weaker and not as strong as boys so it was okay for a girl to cry. But you know, I don’t think that’s really true, I think some girls can be much stronger than boys in many ways.” 

“You mean like when I stopped taking medicine and the doctor said some boys bigger than me had to still take the medicine even after getting out of the hospital?”

“Yep.”

A smile spread across her face and filled my rear view mirror.

 

copyright ©2016  J. Power

 

 

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October, the end of Oktoberfest, Christmas items begin to appear in the stores, and the kids get ready for Halloween.

October

Halloween

For screenwriters, it’s time for the Austin Film Festival. With the festival only a couple of days away I thought I would share my thoughts on pitching. I pitched last year, and for a introvert it can be nerve-racking. For anyone pitching this year, I’ve created a list to help you prepare.

  • Write out your logline and main story points. This is the information you need to convey during your pitch.
  • If you have friends who do presentations, run through it with them, get feedback.
  • Practice with a stopwatch, you only have 90 seconds. I saw many people go overtime last year.
  • Practice until you don’t need your paper/cards. Practice on the plane, on the bus, in the hotel room. People may think you are crazy talking to yourself, screw them, practice!
  • Double check your timing. Stopwatch!! 90 seconds only.
  • Be kind to the festival people running the pitching event.
  • On your pitch day, dress up a bit, I wore a suit jacket with jeans and a polo shirt.
  • Deep breaths, calm, channel any nervous energy into the pitch. If your script is a comedy, be funny.
  • Support the other pitchees, they might be able to help you at some point in the future.
  • If you don’t get picked for the finals you can sign up for another pitch session, if they have extra space. My pitch session last year was full of people who nailed their pitches. One of the other pitchees who did not win my session pitched at another one and ended up in the finals.
  • Thank the judges.
  • Smile.
  • TRY to have fun.
  • Remember – PRACTICE!!!!

Copyright © 2015  J. Power

Today I failed

Posted: September 20, 2015 in Writing
Tags: , , ,

Today, I failed, it was turn in day and I wasn’t ready. I joined a group of like-minded people in working to write 10 pages a week for 10 weeks. It’s week 9, almost done, and I just failed to complete my 10 pages. I only wrote 5 pages this week, didn’t even get close to 10. A big failure.

I feel like crap, I wish I had a good excuse for failure – family emergency, I had to work 80 hours, I got sick, I was in the hospital – but none of those possible excuses happened, I was just distracted and a bit lazy.

So does one failure make you a failure? And how do you stop the first failure from snowballing into continued failure?

One failure does not make you a failure. But you do need to review how and why you failed to prevent continued failure. That is how you learn from failure.

I failed because I wasted too much time playing games. I also struggled to write the next scene. I was lost in my own story, and instead of writing my way out, I played games. That was why I originally deleted all games from my computer, to remove the temptation. However, I recently loaded two games back onto my computer as a reward for continued writing.

The solution? Play fewer games and reset writing as my objective when logging into my computer. If I can do that I will get back on track and finish the first draft of this script. I just need to get it done. Easy fix, but I still have to implement the plan. This week, I write until I am done with my total, then I can play a game or two. If I fail again, I may have to delete those games.

 

Happy Writing,
Jim

 

Copyright © 2015  J. Power

Ode to Baseball

Posted: April 8, 2015 in Random
Tags: , ,

An Ode to Baseball

As cherry blossoms bloom,
the aroma of fresh cut grass
flutters on the spring breeze.

Iron cultivates loose dirt
as men sing “America”
and two immortal words
barked as thousands await,
begin the sunny game.

Smoked dogs and Budweiser mix
with the crack of the a bat
in the early springtime air.

I recently traveled to Texas for the Austin film festival. My plan was to meet online friends from twitter and also pitch the script I have been rewriting. I brought a weekend pass, which allows you to see films all week, but only attend conference panels and sessions on Saturday and Sunday. The producer badge is the better buy if you plan to be in Austin before Friday afternoon. The producer badge gets you access to a barbecue and some other special events which are perfect for networking. This year many attendees of the barbecue were able to review and give feedback on the writer emergency pack (http://www.writeremergency.com/) that John August is creating.

Although many of the panels had information that you can find in online blogs or YouTube videos, there were occasional gems of wisdom and the ability to ask questions.

When attending the Austin Film Festival be prepared to meet people. Friday and Saturday I attended three hosted parties in three different bars. If you don’t drink alcohol that’s fine, but be prepared to hang out and meet people. During the day in between panels and at night after the parties, the Driskill bar is the place to be, it is almost always crowded with plenty of people chatting and connecting.

As for me I was able to meet with some twitter friends as well as meet some new people from around the country. I learned I can handle drinking most of the weekend and still function. But most importantly, I learned to pay attention to how you wash your hands, are your thumbs out? Do they get scrubbed like your fingers?

Think about it.

 

Austin Film Festival Checklist:

  1. Arrive with a good attitude, smile, be friendly.
  2. Do not stop people in the street (unless you already know them), approach them at parties or meet and greets. (I failed at this with someone, don’t repeat my mistake).
  3. After getting your packet take some time to look over the films, go see one. (They had Big Hero 6 and Dear White People this year).
  4. You can plan the panels you want to attend ahead of time on the Austin website. – DO THIS.
  5. If you can set up times and places to meet twitter or other friends do it, or at least get contact info so you can meet up when you get into Austin.
  6. Bring one pair of nice khakis and a polo shirt, just in case.

 

Copyright © 2014  J. Power

Random Thoughts while Waiting

Posted: October 13, 2014 in Random
Tags: , , , , ,

Boredom, it’s a disease running rampant in waiting rooms throughout the land. It breeds mischief and the death of brain cells, beauty, and enlightenment. Boredom is a slow painful torturous death that never ends. The waiting room never helps, it’s full of gray, like a sky on a rain soaked day in a strip mall of dead and rotting stores without food or entertainment.

The zombie apocalypse could begin and this place would be the same, with gray dead people to match the gray dead day and the gray dead mall. At this point in time I would welcome the zombies, for then my brain might be doing something useful. Feeding zombies.

Copyright © 2014  J. Power

Amber sits, belt latched and hands clasped, as the plane prepares for takeoff, “Please lord let this plane take me to my destination safely.” she whispers. She never changes the routine. Don’t fix what isn’t broken, isn’t that what they say? As the plane lifts off a man jumps into the seat next to Amber, grabbing and buckling the seat belt.

“Hello. I’m Gio.” he states extending his scarred rough hand to her. Amber, who is looking out the window, peeks at Gio. “Hi.” says Gio, waving his hand a little. Amber turns and looks back out the window, hoping Gio will get the hint and go back to his seat. As the plane reaches cruising altitude Amber turns to face front. Gio is still sitting there, with his hand out.

Amber turns, “What do you want?” she states coolly.

Gio stares into her eyes, “Just wanted to say hello. I noticed you said a little prayer before takeoff. You believe in god?”

Amber takes a closer look at Gio. He has translucent white skin with a scar running diagonally across his face and some smaller scars on his neck. His hair is short and dark brown with silver streaks. “I don’t think that is any business of yours.”

“Just an observation, you seemed a bit nervous, that’s all. I also believe.”  says Gio.

Amber looks out the window and rolls her eyes. Oh god I hope he doesn’t start preaching to me she thinks. “That’s nice.” she says matter of factly.

Gio squirms in his seat. The captain comes on the intercom, “We have reached our cruising altitude of 35,000 feet. It should take about 2 hours to reach our destination. Bermuda is 70 degrees and sunny. Please sit back and enjoy the flight.”

Gio unbuckles his seat, “Do you want a water? I’m going to get one.”

“Sure.” Amber says absentmindedly.

Gio walks to the front of the plane and speaks with the stewardess for a couple of minutes. She hands him some drinks. Gio comes back to the aisle seat in Amber’s row. “I got water and peanuts! Always be courteous.” he smiles and holds out the water and peanuts for Amber. She looks over, “Thanks.” Amber takes the snacks.

“No problem.” says Gio, smiling. “I think we can maybe get a free beer or whiskey if we are very nice.”

Amber opens the bottle, takes a sip then rips open the bag of peanuts, spilling some. She grabs the loose nuts, puts them in her mouth, then dumps in the rest of the bag. Her cheeks bulge slightly like a chipmunk while she chews. When she is done Amber washes the salt and peanut bits down with her water.

Gio looks at her, “I knew you were a peanut person, I can tell these things.”

Amber looks over at him, “Really, how is that?”

“It’s one of my talents. I can figure things out about people. Some say it’s a gift, but I think it’s mostly a curse.” he states.

Amber looks at him quizzically.

“The one thing I am really good at figuring out isn’t the cheeriest news for anyone to hear,” Gio states, “It’s actually rather morbid.”

Amber leans toward Gio slightly, he now has her full attention, “Go on.”

“I really don’t think you want to know. You won’t be happy.” Gio says.

“Try me.” Amber challenges.

Gio looks her in the eye, then turns and looks around the plane to see if anyone is listening to the conversation. Most passengers appear to be engrossed in a movie or listening to music. He leans close, there is a faint odor of lilies as he whispers, “I know when people are going to die.”

Amber almost laughs, “What? That’s just silly, now I know you’re just making stuff up.”

Amber looks out the window. A couple of rows in front of them the stewardess is pouring drinks and hands out small bags of pretzels. When Amber turns back to look at Gio he isn’t smiling. “Now might be a good time for that beer,” Gio says.

“Better make it a whiskey.” Amber smiles politely.

Gio nods and turns to speak with the stewardess who has just stopped the cart in front of their row. “Anything to drink sir?” She asks.

“Yes please!” Gio says charmingly, “One lite beer for me and a whiskey for my friend.”

The stewardess looks over at Amber who nods. A beer and a whiskey are delivered to Gio and Amber. “Thank you very much Amy.” states Gio, reading her nametag.

“It’s on the house.” says Amy with a wink. Gio smiles large. Amy moves the cart to the next set of rows.

Gio leans in to whisper again, “Ha! We did get free booze, Cheers.” Gio touches his beer can to Amber’s plastic cup of whiskey and takes a sip. Amber slams the whiskey feeling the burn in her throat as it disappears. She coughs a bit, and sets the empty cup down on the tray-table.

“So,” Amber says, clearing her throat, “Is there a reason you are on this flight and talking to me.”

“Well, there is, but I’m not allowed to say.” Gio says.

Amber looks out the window. Tears begin to flow from her eyes. As she cries her body begins to tremble a bit. “We’re going to die, aren’t we? Who are you really?” Amber asks.

Gio gently touches Ambers shoulder, “I am the angel of death, I escort all to their final destination.”

Amber looks at him, wiping the tears from her eyes. “I don’t understand. Why? Shouldn’t you, I mean don’t you just come and…” Amber’s voice trails off.

“I sometimes appear to a select few to ease them into the afterlife, give them comfort.” Gio says softly.

The plane lurches, shakes violently, and begins to lose altitude quickly. Passengers around Gio and Amber scream and begin to cry as the plane continues its plunge. Airbags drop from the overhead compartment and people begin to put them on. The captains voice comes over the speaker. “Stewardesses, prepare the cabin for crash landing.”

Amber leans forward and grabs her knees. Gio grabs Ambers hand, holding it gently. “All will be fine, you are loved,” he whispers. Somehow Amber heard him clearly over the roar of the plane. As the plane hits Amber looks at Gio, the plane begins to break around him and a piece of metal shears off the back of his seat passing right through him.

When the plane stops smoke and fire begin to fill the cabin. Amber sits up and looks around, “I survived?”

Gio nods his head. “But, you said,” Amber begins to protest.

Gio holds a finger to his mouth, “shh,” then fades away.

Amber unbuckles and begins to move toward the nearest exit away from the fire. Behind her she hears the scream of a baby and a mother pleading, “Help! Help! I can’t…save my baby!”

Amber stops and looks behind her, no one else is there, she takes a step forward then turns and moves quickly to the back of the plane.

The baby and mother are sitting midway back, the baby is sitting in his car seat crying. The mother looks at Amber and then down at her lap. The seat in front of her has pinned and crushed her legs, “I can’t move.”

Amber tenses and pulls, but is unable to move the seat.

“Please just save my baby.” pleads the mother.

After unbuckling the belt around the baby seat, Amber takes one last look at the mother, then turns and races out of the plane as flames begin to engulf all of it. An explosion knocks Amber to the ground, the baby and seat tumble and end face up staring at Amber. She tries to move, but is unable.

“He’ll be fine, it’s time to go.” Gio whispers.

Amber turns her head. Gio has beautiful large white wings and a pale but unblemished complexion. He holds out his hand, “Time to see your grandparents.”

Amber smiles.

 

Copyright © 2014 J. Power